One of the most densely populated areas in the entire world, the Gaza strip is bursting at its seams with 1.4 million people squished together in about 139 square miles. Therefore, any attack on Hamas elements in Gaza is sure to result in massive civilian casualties. Since the Israeli offensive began last week, more than 400 Gazans have been killed and about 1,700 wounded. Of those killed, the UN says that at least a quarter of them are civilians and several dozen are children.
Take a look at what happened when Israel targeted and killed top Hamas leader Nizar Rayan:
The bomb flattened the house and killed Rayan — as well as 18 other people, including nine of his children, ages 2 to 19, and all four of his wives. Television footage showed medics clutching the bodies of children dug from the rubble of the house and neighboring buildings.
So, with Gaza up in flames, the humanitarian crisis worsening by the minute, and the international community pressing for a ceasefire, what are our illustrious leaders doing? Phoning it in.
Asked why Rice was not going to the region, Johndroe said the secretary had been making “a number of calls” on the problem. “She’s been on the phones constantly since last Friday and Saturday for about a week now, so don’t see a particular need for her to travel to the region now since she can do the work from here.”
Bush returned to Washington on Thursday afternoon from a holiday stay at his Texas ranch. Both he and Rice have been telephoning a host of world leaders in recent days in the wake of new hostilities between Israel and the Hamas organization that rules Gaza.
They “don’t see a particular need” for Rice to go to the region…Of course not – Really, what more should we expect from an administration that has been in lame duck mode since at least ’04? Have we forgotten how this administration reacted to Hurricane Katrina? They’ve been waiting for a new administration to take over for years.
In addition to the outgoing lame duck administration, the incoming administration and its president-elect are ducking, as well. After addressing the attacks in Mumbai and the current economic crisis, Obama has remained mum on the situation in Gaza and conveniently evoked his “there is only one U.S. president at a time” line.
How convenient. The casualties continue to mount, Israel is closer than ever to pushing a ground offensive, and all of our leaders are lame ducks ducking the flames.